SeeThrough Studios has finally released Flatland: Fallen Angle! Again! Our officially award-winning game about a vengeful triangle is now for sale on Desura and our website for the low, low price of $2.99, with several improved levels and features, but the same moody narration and shape-slicing goodness!
“But it was free before!”
Yes, but this version is better. Also, we want to make more and better games, and to do that we need money. If you haven’t played Flatland before, try out the free demo. If you have played it, we’d love it if you could head over to the Desura page and rate the game.
“I already paid for the last version because I am a great human being and everyone loves me and my life was vastly improved because of my kind gesture towards SeeThrough Studios!”
Well, wonderful Sir or Madam, please be patient. We’ll get you a Desura code very soon. You deserve it for being the best.
Like the headline says, we received the award for Best Writing in a Game at this year’s Freeplay independent games festival in Melbourne. The ceremony took place on Sunday night at the Order of Melbourne hotel, in front of a tired but happy crowd of developers ad hangers-on. We were also highly commended in the Best Australian Game category.
When the nominations were announced a couple of weeks ago, I honestly didn’t even remember that we’d entered, and I mumbled something to the effect after clambering onto the stage. I was humbled and more than a little surprised to be receiving this award of behalf of our little company, and afterwards filled with a lot of goodwill towards all my fellow Freeplay-attendees (and cider), and a growing sense of motivation.
It seems crazy to be awarded right now, for that game, given all the struggles we’ve had trying to expand and iterate on it, leading to our current development hiatus. But of course it’s absolutely awesome, as well. I am very fond of Fallen Angle, even in its rough-and-ready state, and I’m determined to live up to the recognition the Freeplay judges have given us, both by expanding on the Flatland mythos, and in plenty of brand new and exciting projects!
So I’d like to thank (on behalf of SeeThrough) the Freeplay judges and organiser (particularly retiring head honcho Paul Callaghan), and everyone who has supported us and the game over the last six months or so since (and during) its production. Freeplay has a special place in my heart, as it was basically the launching-off point for my own involvement in game development. I’m already looking forward to next year!
Okay. Hmm. I’m not quite sure where to start. This has not traditionally been our problem. We’re good at starts – it’s the finishing that has been eluding us.
So I’ll start with that, and try and keep this brief. Following our latest Flatland “refocus” (as described in the previous blog post) we found ourselves in a difficult position. We knew that the changes we were making were necessary, but it also became apparent that they were killing team morale. No-one felt good about scrapping work they’d been doing for the last however-many weeks, and energy levels quickly sank through the floor.
There were any number of things we could have tried to combat this, so the first thing we did was get together for a brainstorming session, where we came up with a hundred ideas for things we could do to improve everyone’s experience at the company. These ranged from abstract morale-boosters like “go on a helicopter ride” or “get an office plant”, to more practical measures like which projects we actually wanted to pursue. (more…)
After a 2-week wait, we’ve finally come to part 2 of our Budgeting Saga.
And no, it won’t be a trilogy. More like a dodecology.
First, the drop: I won’t be budgeting for the entire 3-project span up front, but will first focus on Flatland and then work on the other two projects (Particulars and Seed) once that’s been done. There are simply enough differences between the projects (essentially, that Flatland isn’t funded while the others are) to ensure that doing them all together would be… confusing. The other upshot is that I get to budget something simple first, before tackling the complexities of actually having money.
So without further ado, we’ll head into the murky depths of expenses (what I’ve done all-too slowly over the last few weeks) before diving into the income side of things.
And then there were 3…
This week, we’ve put mutants into the mix as a gameplay element, adding some much needed emergence to the Shapes of Grey build. Also, some new art concepts, progress on the lighting system, new scheduling and budgeting.
Another week, another update…
The weekend before last, I went to Canberra iFest as a speaker (I’ll get a summary of that talk and the slides up shortly!). As a part of that, I saw a talk by Daniel Fisher of Halfbrick about their design process, where he said, amongst other gems, that one of their key processes is to decide what the ‘three pillars’ of their game is. That is, the three things that wholly describe and are wholly important to their game look, feel, sound, taste and smell, possible sans the taste and smell.
So last Wednesday night, we crowded around a table at a local pub and worked out our pillars between the impassioned yelling of the local sports fans (State of Origin Rugby, for those of you playing along at home). Below are a combination of minutes of the meeting, conclusions from it and the process that we took to get to our pillars.
Oh, also, the pillars will be there somewhere.
As you may have heard, Flatland: Fallen Angle has been given a facelift since it was last published, and that facelift is coming to the interwebs quite soon. It’s taken a little longer than expected, partly because of the different builds* we require.
*I’m using the word ‘builds’ here because ‘versions’ is misleading: these are all the same ‘version’ of Fallen Angle, but they have slightly different features. For the purposes of this article, I won’t be discussing builds with the same features for different platforms (PC versus mac builds, for instance). I’m sure there must be a better term for this concept, so please let me know if you know of one.
There’s a couple of different builds of Flatland: Fallen Angle that are currently on this computer: 5 to be exact. And as far as I know, there’s at least 3 more to come.
Why are we making so many different builds of this one, very small game? How do we decide what builds to make? And how do we keep track of them all? What follows will be a mixture of marketing, product design and technical tips that will help you to decide whether and how to split your code base.